Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Exceptional Technologies: A Continental Philosophy of Technology

2019.04.15 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Dominic Smith, Exceptional Technologies: A Continental Philosophy of Technology, Bloomsbury, 2018, 169pp., $88.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350015609. Reviewed by Robert C. Scharff, University of New Hampshire Dominic Smith's book starts with a critical review of recent work in technoscience studies, especially work associated with the so-called empirical turn in Continental philosophy of technology [CPT]. In the 1990s when this movement was young, its opposition to the abstract and essentialist elements of classical CPT, together with its call for careful study of actual technologies instead, felt just right. Classical CPT was depicted as a first wave phenomenon -- a pioneering legacy that undoubtedly pushed inquiry in the proper direction by stressing the key role of artifacts in current technoscientific life but was also deeply burdened by a general tendency toward either happy progressivist scientism or nostalgia, romanticism, and overblown worries about technology as an autonomous force. As... Read [More]

The Metaphysics of Truth

2019.04.14 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Douglas Edwards, The Metaphysics of Truth, Oxford University Press, 2018, 198pp., $60.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198758693. Reviewed by Steven D. Hales, Bloomsburg University A spectre is haunting truth -- the spectre of deflationism. It looms over Douglas Edwards's entire discussion, and is the central foil of his book. Unlike Marx, who wanted to defend the spectre of communism, Edwards wishes to dismiss that of deflationism. The book makes the argument not only for a substantive theory of truth, but for a pluralist theory of truth, grounded in a metaphysics of properties. More than that, Edwards is concerned with developing a broadly-unified metaphysics that includes a pluralist ontology -- not just that there are different fundamental categories of entity, but that there are distinct modes of existence itself. The book is titled The Metaphysics of Truth, but its arguments extend more broadly than one... Read [More]

Can Different Cultures Think the Same Thoughts?: A Comparative Study in Metaphysics and Ethics

2019.04.14 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Kenneth Dorter, Can Different Cultures Think the Same Thoughts?: A Comparative Study in Metaphysics and Ethics, University of Notre Dame Press, 2018, 276pp., $50.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780268103538. Reviewed by Ethan Mills, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Philosophers specializing in non-Western traditions today face a dilemma. On one hand, the virtues of encouraging non-specialists to engage with non-Western material are obvious: it enhances collegiality between specializations, opens up philosophically fertile comparisons, and creates more visibility for non-Western traditions among our mono-cultural colleagues. On the other hand, there are risks of non-specialist engagement with non-Western material: linguistic limitations, less familiarity with contemporary scholarship, lack of understanding of cultural and philosophical context, and a tendency to make sweeping pronouncements about non-Western traditions based on limited exposure. As a specialist in Indian philosophy myself, I approached Kenneth Dorter's book with both excitement and trepidation. While Dorter is not completely new to Chinese and Indian philosophical... Read [More]